NRA’s gun control suit will wait for other area rulings

Sara Peck

A suit filed by the National Rifle Association against Evanston’s gun control ordinance has been put on hold until a federal appeals court reaches a decision on similar cases based in Chicago and Oak Park.

Federal judge Marvin Aspen issued the stay for Evanston’s case on April 30.

In late September, the Evanston City Council amended city law in an attempt to avoid the lawsuit.

The council chose to change its ban instead of fighting the NRA in a potentially expensive suit, said city corporation counsel Jack Siegel, the amendment’s writer, in September. Under the revision, Evanston residents can have handguns in their homes for the purpose of self-protection, but other uses and other types of guns are still prohibited.

But attorneys representing the NRA said the amendment was not satisfactory and modified their lawsuit.

Ald. Mark Tendam (6th), a newcomer to the council, said he’s passionate about retaining Evanston’s modified code though “several larger agencies are willing to take this on.”

“I know it will be back on our agenda if I have anything to do with it,” he said. “I agree that the council did the best thing it could when it modified the law.”

Evanston could defeat the NRA suit, since the Supreme Court’s ruling applied only to the District of Columbia, which is a federal district and is distinct from city government.

Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste (2nd), one of four current aldermen who served when the initial ruling occurred, declined to comment on the issue.